Let's eliminate pesticide use in Longmont Posted by Sarah Wadleigh on October 22, 2014 at 9:21am in Longmont, CO View Discussions A recent Times Call article no…

A recent Times Call article noted an 80% decline in honey production in Colorado.  At least 2 Longmont apiaries unaffected by floods lost 80% of their bees this past season.

Problem? Unacknowledged widespead use of a pesticide called Aqualeur.  In Longmont's case, Aqualuer is being used throughout the city, all summer long.  Mosquitoes are not being tested for West Nile, so the decision to spray repeatedly is based on numbers of mosquitoes, not any real threat.  

The fact sheet for Aqualuer says, “...highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds while bees are visiting the treatment area.”

Which part of “highly toxic to bees” do we not understand? Which part of “Do not allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds” do we not comprehend? This neonicotinoid is being sprayed all over town during peak bloom season, when flowers in trees and gardens will be in full bloom, and will definitely be coated with fallout from each application. It doesn't stop being poisonous once it falls from the air. It remains in the soil and can be taken up by plants.   It damages earthworms and other friendly soil organisms.  

The 13 active spray sites shown on Colorado Mosquito Control's map come to a total of 4,513 acres. Per their site, CMC sprays 1 oz per acre (with no testing of mosquitoes at all). Spraying all 13 sites dumps 35 gallons of bee-killing pesticide into the environment. It remains in the air for 4-5 hours, drifting onto flowering gardens and crops. Remains active on plants and in gardens and yards for 50-70 days, longer in soil. This describes just one evening of spraying in Longmont. This summer our area was sprayed six weeks in a row.  Last summer some areas were treated eight times.

  • Let's estimate that just 10 areas of Longmont are sprayed for six consecutive weeks. That's actually quite accurate, based on the email notifications we received from CMC over the summer. 

  • Spray areas range in size from 165 acres to more than 800 acres. Averaging 350 acres per area x 10 totals 3,500 acres = 28 gallons per spray! 

  • Multiply by 6 weeks, and we have a total of 168 gallons of Aqualuer, a neonicotinoid that is known to be deadly to bees, distributed throughout Longmont during peak bloom time.

  • How can this not hurt the bee population and other pollinators?

Solutions: 

  • Follow in the footsteps of Seattle and Spokane, Washington and Eugene,Oregon to ban Neonicotinoids. Longmont could be a leader in the bee-saving effort.

  • Adopt the larvacide-only policy used very successfully by the City of Boulder since 2010.  It's right here: https://www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/west-nile-virus-mosquit...

  • Boulder's strategy actually tests the larvae for West Nile to carefully track and monitor which areas are the highest risk.  They then use larvacide to prevent rapidly multiplying larvae from taking flight as adults.

  • Contrast that to the strategy employed by Colorado Mosquito Control - No testing being done on mosquitoes trapped in Longmont, and repeated sprays on designated areas if more than 100 mosquitoes are present in said area's trap.  Adulticiding is highly ineffective, not to mention all the pollinators, water dwellers and soil organisms that are damaged.  The residual toxicity is extremely damaging to our ecosystem.

  • One drop of larvacide, a naturally occurring bacteria, kills thousands of larvae.  No harm to any pollinator, including bees.  
  • Contrast to using 168 gallons of Aqualeur all over town.  Aqualuer is known to be deadly to bees, according to their own fact sheet, not to mention all the pollinators, water dwellers and soil organisms that are damaged.
  • Longmont residents can purchase mosquito traps that are just like the ones CMC uses to trap and count mosquitoes.  They are very effective and come in many shapes and sizes. DynaTrap makes a quiet device that attracts the insects with light and draws them into the trap with a fan.

I'm praying for a miracle – that we wake up before it's too late!

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